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Dec. 6, 2020, 9:55 a.m. EST

Here are the average retirement savings by age: Is it enough?

See how your savings stacks up against your peers

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By Alana Benson


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This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet. This article provides information and education for investors. NerdWallet does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks or securities.

If you’ve ever wondered how your retirement savings stacks up against your peers, you’re in good company. The desire to know where you land in the sea of retirement savers is natural, and it can help either kick-start more progress or give you a feeling of satisfaction. But no matter how the numbers make you feel, they may not be the best measure of whether you personally are on track for retirement.

What is the average retirement savings?

The 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances shows that the average retirement savings for all families is $255,130. The median retirement savings for all families is $65,000.

If you use these numbers as your guiding star, you’ll likely be in the same state as most of the country: unprepared for retirement.

Taken on their own, those numbers aren’t incredibly helpful. There are a variety of decent retirement savings benchmarks out there, but how much money other people have isn’t one of them. Even breaking the numbers down by age won’t give you a great picture of where your own finances should be. After all, age is just one factor in how much you should save for retirement — and not everyone who is the same age will retire at the same time.

But retirement savings balances do tend to increase with age, as they should — the closer you are to retirement, the more you should have stashed away. (If you’ve been struggling to fund retirement accounts, our guide on how to save money will help.)

How much each age has saved for retirement

A little fine print upfront: Because averages can be heavily skewed by outliers — in other words, the savings over- and underachievers in each group — we’ve also included median balances. The median can often provide a more representative number than the average, and you’ll notice that the median numbers are quite a bit lower than the averages. (All data is from the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances, unless otherwise noted.)

It’s also worth noting that both figures include only those who have retirement holdings — there are many people of all ages who do not. In 2019, only about half of families owned any kind of retirement account.

Under 35

Average household retirement savings: $30,170

Median household retirement savings: $13,000

Let’s start with millennials; they’re used to being under the microscope. In 2019, 45% of families headed by someone under age 35 had retirement accounts — meant here to include IRAs, Keoghs and certain employer-sponsored accounts such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s and thrift savings accounts.

Of the families in this age group who have retirement holdings, the average value of those holdings is $30,170, and the median value is $13,000. In other words, 3,352 and 1,444 pieces of $9 avocado toast, respectively.

If you’re not sure  how much you should save for retirement , it’s best to get an idea for it sooner rather than later — you don’t want to be heading into retirement without enough saved.

Ages 35 to 44

Average household retirement savings: $131,950

Median household retirement savings: $60,000

This age range encompasses the oldest millennials and the youngest of Generation X. More than half (56%) of households headed by someone of this age have retirement accounts, according to the data.

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